The Apprentice returned to our screens this evening and there were few surprises as the usual raft of cliche-laden characters was on standard form. The show began in typical style with Lord Alan pulling apart the most cringe-inducing passages from the candidates' CVs – from the predictable 'I could sell ice to eskimos', to the more puzzling 'I'm a combination of the Wolf of Wall Street and Gandhi.'
The teams had to flog a range of products, from sausages to rubber gloves and t-shirts, to traders and the general public. The sales strategy of the girls' team leader Sarah appeared to be mainly focused on looking pretty, as she urged her colleagues to don short skirts and lots of lippy. Genuine quote: 'Most people will buy from females because they’re more attractive to look at.'
But Sugar reserved the worst of his ire for the boys' team's hot dog venture. Not content with dropping them in a bun and selling them for a huge mark-up, youngster Robert insisted they needed the sausages to be 'edgy' because they were on sale in Shoreditch.
'I'm not interested in all this Shoreditch arty farty bollocks,' Sugar quipped.
It's easy to write The Apprentice off as a bit of fun, and it certainly makes for an amusing watch, but you do have to consider the way it portrays the world of business to the general public. A YouGov poll for training company Caffeine on Demand this week found that just 3% of people think that the world of business is 'caring and responsible', and the same amount think that it 'attracts nice people'.
The company's founder David Kean suggested that business-flavoured 'reality shows' were partly to blame for this.
'We have all, but particularly younger people, been ravaged by Dragons and soured by Sugar,' he said. 'A generation of bright, decent people has been put off going into business because they believe you have to be a ruthless fictitious stereotype.'
Given the lack of professionalism, the infighting and the naivete on display tonight, it's hard to disagree.